What’s the difference between cold brew and nitro cold brew?

Answered by Jesse Garza

Cold brew and nitro cold brew coffee are both variations of the traditional method, but they differ in terms of flavor, texture, and presentation. Let's dive into the details to understand the differences between these two delightful coffee options.

1. Brewing Process:
– Cold Brew Coffee: Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold or room temperature for an extended period, usually around 12-24 hours. The slow extraction process allows the coffee to develop a smooth and less acidic flavor profile.
– Nitro Cold Brew Coffee: Nitro cold brew coffee starts with the same brewing process as cold brew. However, after the coffee is steeped, it is infused with nitrogen gas under high pressure. This infusion process creates tiny nitrogen bubbles that give the coffee a creamy and velvety texture.

2. Flavor Profile:
– Cold Brew Coffee: Cold brew coffee tends to have a rich and bold flavor, often described as less acidic and smoother compared to traditional hot brewed coffee. The extended steeping time allows for a full extraction of flavors, resulting in a more pronounced taste.
– Nitro Cold Brew Coffee: Nitro cold brew coffee takes the flavor profile of cold brew to the next level. The nitrogen infusion adds a subtle sweetness and enhances the natural flavors of the coffee. The result is a smoother, creamier, and slightly sweeter taste compared to traditional cold brew.

3. Texture and Mouthfeel:
– Cold Brew Coffee: Cold brew coffee has a smooth, full-bodied texture with a slightly thicker consistency compared to hot brewed coffee. It can be enjoyed over ice or diluted with water or milk to suit personal preferences.
– Nitro Cold Brew Coffee: Nitro cold brew coffee stands out with its distinct mouthfeel. The nitrogen bubbles create a creamy and frothy texture, similar to a Guinness . The cascading effect as it is poured from a tap adds to the visual appeal and enhances the overall experience.

4. Presentation:
– Cold Brew Coffee: Cold brew coffee is typically served over ice or diluted with water or milk. It is often enjoyed in a glass or a coffee tumbler with added garnishes like lemon slices, mint leaves, or a splash of flavored syrup.
– Nitro Cold Brew Coffee: Nitro cold brew coffee is served straight from a tap, similar to a draft beer. The nitrogen-infused coffee cascades down the glass, creating a mesmerizing visual display. It is usually served without ice or any additional additives to preserve its unique texture and flavor.

The main difference between cold brew coffee and nitro cold brew coffee lies in the texture, mouthfeel, and presentation. Cold brew offers a smooth and bold flavor with a thicker consistency, while nitro cold brew takes it a step further by infusing nitrogen to create a creamy, frothy texture and a slightly sweeter taste. Whether you prefer the classic simplicity of cold brew or the unique experience of nitro cold brew, both options offer a refreshing and delicious way to enjoy coffee.